(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "RyersonJohnson-Murray-Part2"

57 



thefli. Hy morher ynuld never let ne res6 them at 
home. I used to get Argogy when Tarian of Ihe 
Apes Hag beinj prlnred and JiTde Ihem under the 
bed but I hadn't had much pulp experience belore 
I started writing rhem, 

DEVEN^'; When you were writing, cfid you jusi 
do aorro refidlng to see whal the competition wet 
dQf na? 

JOHVSON: nh, [ 'd do that occaaionaHy, yas. 
SurCf and whan friends had sturies than I'd read 
those. But [ didn'l resd very widely. 

riuPPAV: And you didn't have much copipeMtlon 
eilher. ] mean you were uritlnfl for Iha top mage- 
iinea in the *ie[d, right? 

JDHnsoN: The reagjjn ] did Eher wa^ \'ia a 
5lDw Writer. H you can write fagtj snd a Lot of 
writarB can-- Ir Jusr breeze? out--1 t tap? tha 
right &lde of your brain I guc^s, which I've nev- 
er been able to do. Bo ihey can afford to write 
tor the cent-fl-word markets which dldn'r require 
as meticulous a Btorv. The two-cent martats re- 
quired you to do a fairly good compLerE ^toryF 
And ] could make a living writing those. 
HURRAY: 1 think Rusty had a question. 
tusrt HEVELIM: Johnny, over the years you've 
taLked ahoui your book on the pulps. Can you tell 
UE the current status on that? 

JDhfHBOM: Oh, yeah. [ -finally decided to do 
a book on the writing Life aa I and a few friend? 
have known it. And ] titled it lentaf ively, . . 
what did \ title It? 

WURRA'': They Don't Want l_f Good, B-gy ^g.n.t 
J_t Tuesday , wa9 that it7 

JDHMSON: They Don't Ugnt l_t Good. They Want 
J_t Uadnesday - Yeah. it kind of catch- phrasas 
Ihe time that they had. So^ I wrote the thing 
and 1 sold half a doien chapters of it to half a 
doien different magazines, but I have not yet 
fiold the hook. [ think I'll redo the book. ] 
wrote that four years ago and some things have 
happened in tha tour years and I ran across a few 
mistakes that T made In there too that I can 
correct. 

HUPRAY: So, If you started writing profas- 
sionaLLy In 19?5--nQw that you know you were 
first published in I^ZS-^BnO we're coming up on 
^99S, your Writing cai-eer ha;; spanned^ is that 70 
years? 

JDHFiSOhT If you think about It, that's pret- 
ty Bond. 

HURBAYi seventy years of writing and you're 
stin doing it- (applause] 

JfJHMsDhJ: I'm wriring children'^ books with 
my wife now. She does the pictures and I do tha 
writing. It's a marriage-wrecking relationship 
becauae I want more space for writing and she 
wants noro space for pictures, [laughter] To 
show you how uncertain thlnss are 1n the writing 
game, 1 did a children's story about thirty years 
ago, sent It out 33 times, and just finally sold 
it. It's a Very untEriain life, 

HUPPAY: You haven't done badly yet. 
J0HN5DM: I always enjoyed It, that time and 
place freedom. 
HURRAY: Ai. 

AL TDNIfi: I don't knot; if you msntfonod hmw 
many total stories Ryerson had dona. 
JDHNSOhL Gee, L dun't knowmyaeLf. 
MURRAY: [ don't knov and I knew he wouldn't 
knov. He writas them. He doesn't count them. 

TdMIK: Hotf many did /ou do of rhe mounted 
pal Ice variety 

JDHNSOV: Oh, I'd say around forty maybe. How 
does that sound? Forty or so, forty or fifty. ] 
wrote hundreds of WE^tern srorlea before J start- 
ed moving into boo>: length. One of the fir^t 



book lengths I did vas a mystery novel for Gold 
Medal. They said, "QK, we tike the mystery novel, 
we like the novel, but Instead of having two men 
compere for ihis woman^ let's have two women com- 
pete for a man." Uell, that means throwing out 
one main character and inventing anoiher one. 
rhey talked like J wa? going to do It over ihe 
weetendl [laughter] To do that, you've got to 
also fi? the whole lengih of The story to conform 
the characters. You do what you have to do. 

MURRAY: fou had a brief brush wilh Hollywood 
and tv. 

JOHNSON: Yeah. 

>ilIRlJAY: Tetl us some of those sforles, 
jOHhSDh: I waited too long to go out thero. 
By the time I got out there, practically all the 
money writers in rha country were out there, like 
Dave [brasher who used to write "Mikfl Shayna." 
I'll tell you how fast things wort in Hollywood. 
I krote a script for "Mike Shayne." I took It 
up. They accepted it and put Ir in their drawer. 
They ^aid If the show goes another bunch at seg- 
mente, we'll buy It. On the basit of that I wenT 
back home to Illinois and watched the trade maga- 
zines and Sure enough the "Hihe Shayne" series 
did go another fourteen segments. So, 1 phoned 
them up and ihey said, "Sure, come along, we're 
about to do the story." [ went back and went 
into tha office and I dldn'T recognlte anybody in 
there, T told them the story about the way I'm 
telling It id you and the a^y reached in tha 
drawer and pulled out a manuscript and ho said^ 
"Is this It?" T said, -sure, sure." And I'm 
pushing the manuscript at him and he's pushing It 
Bt me. [laughter] He said, "Ue didn't like 
enact ly- -Our sponsor didn't like e*Bctly--the way 
the show was going and we brought in all our nekf 
people, Ue don't Want to read anything that was 
done before that." So that was the end of that, 
L laughter] 

HUflPAV: Didn't you have an interesting inci- 
dent at a party where a screen writer practically 
threatened you because he thought you were. ..go 
ahead tell the story, 

JOHK^OM: Hart kJeislnger came out there about 
rhe time J was there. He was working on "Super- 
man" for television. And there was somebody out 
there, r don't remember his name now, but this 
guy hosted one of tho^e Hollywood parties- They 
do have them-- they' re good. Haughterl 7his guy 
assumed because Mort Ueisinger came out there at 
about the same time I did--| didn't even know he 
was there then--that he hod brought me out there 
to write some of thU "Superman." So the host at 
this party come up and grabbed ma like this and 
said, "Johnsonj'* ha said, "you 're a mellow guy, 
you come on nice, I like you. However, 1 want 
all the "Superman" storleSj all of them, under- 
stand? Have a drink. Fnjoy your lunch." [laugh- 
ter] 

HURRAY: 1 love that story. Right there, 
Frank. 

FRAMK nOBINSDN! Vou mentioned paperback 

booksr Have yuu written many paperback novels? 

JoHhSDh: There Weren't so very many. [ 
uroTe three or four of my own and 3 ghosted half 
a dozen or more and that's about it on paper- 
backs . 

ROBINSON: Who'd yuu ghost for? 
JOHNSON: Lester Dent on Doc Savage and Dave 
fresher on Hichael Shsyne. 

MURRAY: You did a boy's book series under 
your own name- Bob Blake, that was it, in the 
early l^fiO's? 

JOHNSON: Yeah. [ did a bunch of teen and 
pre-teen jnysterles wirh Bruno Fischer, Is Bruno 



5& 



slfU around? Doos snybody know for EurtT 
UNKMOWN: Ves. ha i&. 

JDHn&ON: He E^, t^eLI. J bought stories from 
Sruno Hh?n ] b'ss editinir at Popular. And ws could 
aiuays r^ll a BrUn? story because ebnut th? time 
it got thrEE quartern oF Che wEy Through it HouEd 
^pEEd Up. And you could juat see Bruno get the 
feeling, "Gee, I only got s fe« ihuusand mare 
fiords to SD end I got to get bIL thia good stuff 
In." [laughter! He*d get if Pn. Anyw^Vp after 
ihai 1 started to do ^Dm? writing and Bruno 
started editing- Ue did shift araund Chat hb/ b 
gogd deal. And Bruno fsnted me to «ork for Cat' 
Eiei — they uerp gonna have a bunch Df papar-back^. 
He sQid he vianted Thiriy nf thefli. rfiiriy younfl 
dduLt pEperbanks as fsst as I could do them. I'm 
neE a iast i^riter, ai | ay. Sn, I wrat? sevEn 
and he said stop until they got the distribution 
worked out. Veil they never did get the distri- 
bution worked aut^ so That'^ ai far as the ^erlES 
ever got. 

HUPRAYi And they puhHfihed hou raany, tliref? 

JOHNSOH: Four. I birote seven^ they pub- 
lished four. And I ' ve got the rights beck on 
than nou and actuaLLy what J'm da1nu is dhangfng 
then from UASPy Bob BlakE tq Jusn Perez, uhuae 
father is a professor at the University of Puerto 
l^icOf and J'n going to try to te^eII &aniE at 
them. 



NURBAY: Voj did a number of things for Gold 
riedaL, the Fawcett line^ in the fifties. 
JDHVSON: I did a histaricaL novel-- 

HUBPAY: --histDr ical , "Misg is^ippi - - 

JOHNSOHt --"Mississippi Flame-" That's the 
one that they kranled me to have tua Momen after 
one man. 

MURRAt; T?dh, and then you did a bunch of 
those sort of semi-hard boiled tind of seKy no- 
vels for, uas it, Cold HEtfal? 

jOHhSOM: Yes, Gold Medal. 

HURRAY: And vas the other one Red Circle or 
Red Seal? 

jaHri&CN: Rad seal. 

HURRAT: Rad Seal, right. 

JOHNSON: One of them, "tady in Uread," for 
Gold Medal. Yau get your ideas for stories from 
everywhere- On this occasion J ueni through 
Springfield, lU inois, and Che caps had the 
streets all cordoned oft; they^d cordoned o+t the 



square and there was an ouL or T guess it was ■ 
havl: Ihat would Leap from the top of the flag 
pole along about si' n'clnck and go after a spar' 
row underneath the courthouse eves. There were 
three or four hundrsd pegpte there wailing for 
the hawk to dive for the spsrraw. And it occurred 
to me at that time that there must be some angle 
there Ihat you can work a story out on; Thar ih? 
hunane society would probably sooner or later buy 
into that situation. So, three years later I got 
the id$a--ED whEn thE hawk dives after the spar- 
roM, [ had somebody stabbed in the crowd down 
there and when the crowd separates he's gat a 
knife in his back. And you're into your story, 
But I felt that the humane society wasn't tough 
enough to throw their weiflhc around tor a whole 
book So I had a U.B. narcotics man pretending to 
be a humane society deiective to solve the crime. 
HU^tRAT: Tou had one other novel, "South to 
Sanora,'* which you did as a pulp story. Someone 
reprinted it In the forties. You only found thai 
out about five or siii years ago. 

JDHMSDN: Sonebody brought ma a book to sign 
today that I'd never hEad of, | didn'i know I 
had sold that book. [laughter] Apparently E 
^□Id it tc Paperback and it cane out in a series 
that [ never knew anything about. 

KURRAYj &oy, they keep slipping these things 
past you, dan^t they? Ilaughter) Let's have Aomo 
mure questions. Right there, Sheldon, 

SHELDON JAFFfBYi Yeohj Johnny. Going back 
to the days wlien you were a Hew forV cowboy, did 
you ever become acquainted with some of the other 
top western wriiprg such as Ernest Haycn*-- 

JDHHSDN: --No, those western guys drdn^F 
come to Hew lork very often and ] mer very few of 
Ihem. I knew the new Tork croud. 

SEVERAL IM AUDIENCE: Uho were Some of the 
olher hew York crowd? 

JOHNSOH: Arthur J. Burks, Frank Gruber, 
Steve FiEher-- 

JUE.iU5 SCHUARTZ: --tell us about those 

meetings you had at the American Fiction Guild. 
Were you trying to organite a guild to gEt belter 
rates or what? 

JOHNSON: No, it was just a bunch of guys-- 
Arthur Burks practically mastErminded the Ameri- 
can Fiction Guild. We met in Vew York every week 
at a restaurant in Times Square. Ron Hubbard was 
□na of the writers at this rime and one of the 
members of this organi iat ion- He later became 
president of the Guild for a short time. Frank 
Gruber was another member- 'Cruber went to Hotly- 
Wood about the time you should go to Mollywaod 
and caught on fine. I had a letter from Dorothy 
KcH vaine who edited Short Stgrigs , She said, 
"Ciruber's coming back and he read your story and 
he llhea it and he thinks he ceft do something 
with ir in Kollyvood." Dk. So on that assurance 
I called up Gruber and he said yeE he's coming so 
I thought the proper HollywDod touch would be to 
do something a little out of the pattern. ] got 
a bunch of ballooris. It was just after the war 
and they were making ballaonE for the first time. 
So, 1 walked down rhe street where I lived to the 
Commodore Hotel with a hunch of ballnona. [ 

bought them for frank, for his boy, and he liked 
them fine, but Fran* broke practically all of 
them. Uhy I tell that story I don't l:nQW. 
llaughterl 

HUffRAT: Another question. Right there, 
Dnrrel 1. 

DARRELL R| CHARDSaFt: Frank Gruber and Steve 
Fisher were great friends of *laii Brand, whosa 
real name we know was Frederick fausl. Did you 
ever meet Faust? 

JOHNSON: No, I never did. r admired him 
greatly, but I never met him- I didn't know thai 



59 



Uruber and Ff^her knew hl|ii--T knew bolh o' Ihose 
boyA qui is well . 

nCCHjklfP^QN: Us was kind of a nLv^lenou^ 
character, rj+ course, even in those dtyi. 
jaHNSDk: ah yes. 

PJCHARD^ON: He wrote under 19 mmss . 
JDHNSDNJ Hi? d I dn ■ t cams la N^w Tnrk ai far 
es 1 tnoM when I wa^ there. 

>iUffRfli! red U5 about the ti^e Leaier Dent 
took you up for a ride in his airplane. 

JOilVSON: Waoflhi (Laughrer] Les had e plane 
and ha took me up and he «dld, "Kow I'm going to 
show foxj some nf the things y^iu ^hcuLdn't do if 
you ever have a plane of your own," [laugfiterl 
So, hff stsrtad up and ha had The airplane angled 
ebout like zbis and ue de^d panned up there and 
uenf down like that. Lester turned to me end 
Hsid, "The lirat halt dozen men this happened ta 
alt died becatiae rhay did cha wrong Thing, 
flaughcer] Ydu circle this way and iliey had b 
tendency to go thnf way to gst out of the spin, 
Uhat you're suppc^ed to do |e turn the way you're 
spinning," which he did and landed alright, hut E 
ua^ di?2y For two hours. ]t wa^ a duuble-pi ane, 
BO I'm handling the controls on one srde--he ^ug- 
gaatad I do thi&--and ^o ue^re travelUng alonQ 
end lie says, "Are you content wItJi everything, is 
Bverything ok?" 1 said yeah, a^ far n^ [ know. 
And he says, "look at your wing," Uell «e are 
angled ever about liks this and E couldn't even 
tell it. [laughter] 

fO/iHK ROQIP^SO)]: You ^aid you knew Hubbard in 
New Tort. What kind of a guy ua^ he^ Pafticularly 
dS e production writer? 

JOHN50h: Dh he uiafi really a good writer and 
a faat produttion man. He turned than out. But 

tJiere was none cf this we didn't foresee the 

Sci antoltgy/D 1 aner if s stuff that ua^ going to 
develop from Ron's eBrly life. He was just ano- 
ther ana o' the boy^ ae far aa I or anybody kneu 
then. 

RDBIN5DN: He gave no indication of'- 
JOHNSON: --nothing about Ron at all that you 
could tell he wb& gonna be effectively d guru for 
the science fiction people- Ue just didn'T bep 
it. 

HURRAY: Didn't he tell you once about what 
h? called the God game? 

JOHNSCkN: He went to HoKywood belcre any ol 
the rest of u^ did and he fajne back just singing 
the praises of Hollywood and yeah, he thought we 
were making s mistake messing eruund with pulp 
fiction and he didn't write that Und of £tut( 
very Tnuch longer. Von I don't know the trvlh or 
the thing, but Campbell in iftETDundIng Stories .. . 
£cuttlebulE gea^ Hubbard had written a story 
called "Dinnetics" for Astounding ^ Does anybody 
knew, ua^ there ever a story doneJ 

HURRAY: Yeati, "Dl anei 1 cs, " H was an arti- 
cle, not a story. 

JOHU50N: Uas there a afory called that' 
^LiRltAV: No, it was an article. J thin^ 1t 
Uas B series of articles. I think he revealed 
the truth of sclenlolosv and dianetics in As- 
.Eoundlng . 

JOHNSOH: Oh, well ihat'^ where It started I 
Bue?^. Then Cempbell said, "Look, th^s is hoi, 
we've got more letters on this than anything 
we've ever printed- Uhl le it's hot I thinl: we 
barter turn tt into a book," snd dIanetiCB hap- 
pened. 

HURPflYi Well, you continued getting Christ- 
ma? carda from Hubbard up until the time he died. 
He stayed in rocch with you although you hadn't 
teen him far years. 

JCiHK5':>Nt I wUh T cDuld find Them now. 
[laughter] 

MURRAY: Another pulp writer, Arthur BUrka, 



kind of followed in Hijbbard'^ footarap^. You 
came across Burks some years later at a sort of 
spir llualiai neetlni--teU us the Art Burhs 
Story. 

JDHWSOW: reah. He was i, fast, fasT writer, 
New Yorker's thought that he was "King of the 
Pulps," he could write go fa$t- But he got io he 
couldn't write any more, he was just atucJi. ] 
wss Up In hl5 roofn one day end he said, "look, ] 
made a deal with the 'Fleetwood Airplane Company 
Co go to Venezuela ta Ido4 for Redfern," who ^aa 
an aviatpr who had disappeared the year before In 
the Venezuelan jungle. And there was a inove fa 
popularise the Fleetwood Airplane Company, Burks 
never really eJipecred lo find Hedfern, i do be- 
Lieve. But Burh:E said "Look, 1 need two more 
hundred dollars." 1 don't know why he needed two 
more hundred to clinch this deal, but I happened 
TO have iZOQ at that time. [ ga^e Ic to Burks on 
the assuTnnce that [ could go with him to Vene- 
zuela to help him look for Pedfern. Uell, about 
thar Time | jor a letter from e gin i knew In 
Duluth, Loi5. And, she was coining back to New 
York and J graetly eateemed Id[&. And I began to 
wander if I'm in Veneruela looking far fJedfern 
when sha geti^ back from Europe, will &he welt 
till 1 get back or not. She didn't know me well 
enough that [ could be sure. So, E stayed in hew 
York and Burks ueni out to look for Radfern and r 
waited for Lois who is my wife for fifty years 
now, [appl ausp] 

Abl lUueH Caing On r'rr an Emply Chnrt Toum^LEoalteoyw 




HUHPAY: So, tell UB the Etary of how you 
bumped into Biirks years Later. 

JOHNSON: Years later, in Chicago, Illinois, 
there Was advertised a apLrltualist meeting of 
iouie kind or other. People frofn the university 
were going to be there. And I aau the name Burks^ 
bur 1 didn't altach any significance to it at 
that time. But when ] went to that meeting and 
here Is aid Arthur Burks up on the platform. He's 
talking, talking and talking, and ^vfry once in a 
while he saya, "riello Johnny,'* under his breath 
just to let me Itnow ihat he knew ] was there and 
don't say anything to mesa this up. [laughter] 

HURRAf: Uas he calling himselt Professor 
Burta at that Efme? 



60 



JOHh^SON: teah. Prafcsaor Juries. Sa I Eaid 
nothing, of tourEe, buT aftar ft ^a? auer he pbiti? 
down and shaak hands erid talked jusl a little 
bil. Sut VDry quictlv f^S had to aQ--he Had ^ 
line uf people k^aiting to get life readinEfs from 
him. [Laughter! i nas impressed by his change 
in life 

MURRAf: That*^ somerhlng he may hav? Lparn#d 
from Hubbard^ he ]usi yent in ^ slightly diffe- 
rent dire<:tit}n with it. (laughterj 

JDtfhJSDN^ We uere good frianda. 

HUPI^AY: Did you know Donald Keyhoa? 

JoHhEQFl: No^ [ did naf. 

HUPRAV: He went into flying Eoucar^ uhen Che 
pulp; died. Ha uas uriririg aviar^on aruff and 
Hh«n tha pulpa died ha baratna big In flying sauc- 
er circles- 5d, but for the grace of Gad, you 
nighl «ao Profa^aor Johnson ^paating at a Naw 4ga 
convention instead of having fun here, (laughter) 
You probably would make more money at It too. 
[iBu^htcr] 

JOHNSON: It bauldn't be so much fun. 

HUVRAY: Any more que^tlona? 

DDN HurcHlSGN: Did you aver have Eo po^a as 
a ve^terner, i^ou know, fur autobiographical pur- 
posa£--you know hov you used to raad llEtla au- 
thor squibs In Adventure ? 

JOHhSDtf; rou wera ^upposad to urEia a Latter 
once in a yhile so that your resders would know 
what kind of d guy It is that writes these stor- 
ias. So [ was always riding sround on a hor^e and 
rustling cows somewhere in the letter, [laugh- 
ter] They preferred that you write it that way. 
I'd take pansengera up into the Canadian wilds 
loo. vhich I never did. [laughter] 

MURRAY: Well, Lester [rent was a resl west- 
erner, he greu up an ranchaE in Wyoming and nkla- 
hone. Did he ever talk to yuur about his western 
stories versus your^T 

JOHNSON: No. 

HUBBAT: No? He never said, "rnu're a New 
jDrk tawboy, you don't know how it realLy-- 

J0HN5ON: --no, no, no. He Uas less interest- 
ed in this stuff than I wasi [laughter] 

^URR4V: Uffll, I think we^re going To urap it 
up at thi« point btcairsp time is running Dirt'-oh, 
a question, [ thought you were signalling pe with 
the honk, Pusty- 

JOHUSON: I juBt want to say ono thing. Ever 



sincB I camp to my first Pulpcon^ it's Just a 
dlffereni yurld. I'm caught up in nD^TaL^rc ran- 
Inistes all rhl^ tltna and you folts here are so 
nicely verged in this never-never land of the 
pulps that I don't know what's going on outside. 
[ haven't read a paper--the stock market could 
have collapsei;^, there could be a war, and [ 
wouldn' t know- fapp laurel 

HUffRAfz Ru^ty, you had a queBtinn. 
ROSIT HEVELIN: I do have a question- There 
are a number of peopLe here who have been prerty 
active in the science fiction field and you re- 
ferred earl ier to the fact that somebody said 
don't get into that^ there's no future. How did 
ynu feeC uhen every other pulp tnagerine died ex- 
cept for science fiction niaga?lna^7 [Laughter] 

joknsdhj Dh, I love it because I like sci- 
ence fiction. But [ uas sorry J Ier rhem talk me 
out of thaE- A lot of the evperrs are wrong 
aren't they? Quite often^ | guesa in any field. 
] got an idea alt of a sudden when ] got Inter- 
ested in jfljz muaic. I thoughtj "DK, there isn't 
much being written about jaii music. I'll be the 
interpreter of jajz music for America." So I had 
B good agent in New ^ark at that Eime, Paul Pey- 
nalds. Ideally one of the best. [ went to Paul 
with a story about Jan. "Pops, That's Solid" | 
think WDS the title. And he told nie--J remember 
his word5--he said, "Jaii is not enough of an 
Indigenr^us port of the American scene. You'll 
never make a living Writing jaZZ Storlea." 
riauahterl Haw Indigenous can yau be? 
MUl^RAT; What year was that? 
JOHMSON: Well, right after ihat "Toung Han 
With a Horn" came out and we were on our Hay- 
But I took his word for it and didn'E write any 
more jazz stories. Elaughter} 

Murratt Frank, you have a quesrion? 
ftlAHK RtJSTMSON: I jU5t wanted to say that 
Johnny is a legend in his own time. [*m sure that 
bU of us here appreciate it, but just before 
Pulpcon ] hod five people avfr to the house. One 
was Gene Minger, who worked for Johnny on ency- 
c[DpediaB in Dhicago. One was Larry [Javldson, 
who had interviewed Johnny for KTFA in Berkley, 
BnaEh?r va^ BilE Pronzlnl who is a mystery story 
writer and h:nows Johnny well and another guy was 
Charlie Hardou, who also wrires mysterlaB, who 
claimed rhst Johnny gsve him his stort. And [ was 
on the outside--! had jUst met Johnny ^t Pulpcgn, 
[laughter] [t Has the Ryerson Johnson appreclB- 
t Ion society. 

JOHN&OM: Thank you. 

HURRAYj Another queetion out there? Go 
ahe^d. 

JULIUB SCHkJARl?: [ t occurred to me, since 
you knew Hort Weisinger and Jack Schiff so well 
from the Standard maga^'rnas, when they went over 
to DC Domics, did they try to persuade you to 
write any comics, or did you or HhaI7 

JQHNSON; Not for E [ong while, but finally 
they did- 

SCHHART2: what did you urite? 

JOHKSOK: Oh, I Hrote a Hhole bunch of them, 
lite '►Gangbiislers," "Hister District flllornay," 
"Dale fvans.*' They gave me e picture of Dale 
Evans to inspire me. Uaughter] 

MURRAf: Were you inspired? 

JOHNSON: I liked her better than the horses! 
[laughter] 

RUSTT HEVfllN: How wai Dale Evans, Johnny? 

daJLNSQN: Well, r did introduce one new thing 
wiEh Dale EvanB. I brought her in an uncle who 
lassoed things from his wheelchair- - J got him a 
motorized wheelchair and we drove him down the 
hill Lassoing cowb and shooting off hia gun. 
[laughter] 

HURRAY: UncLe ^ix something^ I think he was 



61 



called. 

JC>H»JSOW: : think he va^- 

HURBAY: You aLeo did rhe tfyomlng K\6. in 7hf 
tJorLd'a tinesT,, because [ ^e« one oi the Issues. 
JOHNSOH: V/oming K|d--[ did b bunch of rha^e. 
HUPRAYr Did yau crealE Ihal character? 
JOHNSaN: »a, I didn't create it, 
HURRAY J HD, yotr just -role II. Yqu did 
kBstern conics' - 

JDWNSON: --ifie creation hbs oU decided h^ 
the people behind the desJij wasn't it Julie? 

SCHWARTZ: The editors did all the creeMng 
in those day^, not the writer. 

JDHMEOK: They did everything. One lime I 
had an Arab dayn on his praytr rug end aumebady 
Came up and ihot him in the bach and Morr &aid, 
"Qh Johnny^ Jebua/' he said, "you don't shoot a 
man on hit hnly rug. You wait fill he gpts off 
the rug and then ahoDt hfrir" [laughter] 

MURRAY: He didn't Hunt to offend anybody, 
huh? Did you have a quest I Qn. Doug? 

OCliC ELLIS: A Hhile back Johnny, you inen- 
tianed to me that you had b book coming oul soon 
of uestern stories end of Eotne of your nL>rtJiue&I 
Btorlea. 

JOHriSON: Oh yeah. The Unlversifv of nhio is 
bringing aul b biJok--Tl!a Best Western Slorips of. 
Ryerson Johnson , they call it. Stuff | urate 
fifty years ago. They define West in a pretty 
[arge *jay, because ]'ve got s couple of coal nine 
stories in there and some northwest stories, Jt'fl 
supposed to come out this fall, 

HURRA1: Win this be your firat ahorl atory 
tol Lect ion? 

JOHhSON: Oh, gee. I don't know. [ think It 
is. 

HURRAY: Seventy yaars out and you've never 
dona a coCtection of ahcrt starleB before ihfs? 

JQHHSON: I've had a Lot of stories in antho- 
Loaie^, 

MUBPAY! Te5, in Bnthalogles, but his ia a 
complete cdL Lett Ion, After seventy years, it's 
another f i rsl . 

JOHhSQH: Yeah. 

KURRAY: Another question out there? Go 
ahead^ Paul . 

PAUL HERMAN: As far as these Warthwest 

mounted poL ice characters arid western characterE 
that you Wrote, Were any of them series charac- 
ters or were they all jUEt ±eparste stories? 

jOHhEDPJ: Yes, I did a bunch of series char- 
acters ell the way ihrouEih, portlcuLarly in the 
westerns- Some of the Mounted police too. 

HURRAY: TelL us about Ciun Cat Bodman and Len 
Sirlngn, and jhn wag the Chinese guy? He uss the 
first guy to do Kuna Fu like fn the t^ series. 

JOHNSOM: Thai ua^ Uah Lee, He had bIk LfCtte 
finger knives and he'd shoot them out as fast as 
a guy couLd shoot a bulL^t- 

MUPRAY: Tell us about Cun Cat Bodman. 
JOHNSON: Then we have Gun Cat Bodman. When 
he went into a gun crouch he Leaked like a great 
humped cat end his eyes tuired kind of green. He 
was "the man with death For siJi Ln his trigger 
finger and nine lives to live." [laughter] 

hURflfl'Tj I guess Len Siringo was your most 
famous western character. 

JOHNSON: leah, Len Siringo--] must have done 
thirty pf those for SlBT Western . He went eround 
righting wrongs in different pL!]ces--ln some loun 
Some ouilawE had la^en over the toivn and Len 
comes In the guise of s&mebody olso. He'd come 
in as a blacksmlih, or dDclDr, or tailor or what- 
not. The first part ot the atory he would fight 
with the tools of his trade and nobody kneit who 
he wag and then his Idenlity is revealed and he 
meets everybody in a gunfighs finish. 

MUPRAY: Another question? John, go ahead. 



JOHR GUNhiaOH: Johnny, did yau ever have any 
stories that you submitted and have the editor or 
the publisher change your name--glve it a house 
name'' 

JOHNSQNi 1 wrote for a hou^e name sametimea. 
Qut I aLyavs knew ] was doing th^t. do they do 
thar somet inic^? 

(iJ^MNlSaN: oh, yeah, 

MURRAY: Sometimes you get two stories iri an 
issue, the editor would slap another name an one 
of them. 

JOHNSON: Yeah. Jack Uhitford, he used lo 
vrli? little seJ^ stories. He wrote so many that 
he would fill magaiines sametimes- -you'd see Jact 
Uhllfordj Jack Whitburn, Ford Jack.., [laughter] 
MURRAY^ Did yau ever use any pen names? Not 
house names, but pen nomesT 

JOHNSON: tJo, [ don^i think i ever did. 
HUBPAVs Ha, you never did'' 
JOHMSOM: Mo, Just a house name. L didn't 
write anywhere near the uordege that some of the 
guys did. Never could write very fast. Never 
could spel I either, 

HURRAY: Tell us that story. 
JOHNSON: | never could apelL good. I hid 
5Qld maybe a dolen stories to Western Stories and 
I wandered In to talk to the editor. And tho 
publisher comes in and I'm introduced and he 
says, "Oh yeah boy, you write a good atory but 
your spelling is terrible." | must have looked 
downhearted at that because he says^ "Oh, don'i 
worry^ don't worry^ we can gel UeLaley glrJs and 
Harvard bays ta fix ihe spell (ng; Just keep send- 
ing lis those good stories.'* [Inughter] 
MURRAY: Rd Incentive to learn. 
JOHNSOr^: fi4cept the first pago or two. ( 
made sure rhey all went just right. 

HURl^AY: Any more questions out there? Co 
aheadj Al. 

At TDNiii! When ynu wrote the Phentom Detec- 
tive^ did you have Hr. Eioldsmith check it out for 
you? 

JOHNSON: Ho, you just wrote it; I wrote for 
Leo Kargul lea, 

HUPfiAT: You worlted directly with Leo Hargu- 
Lies--that wasn't Mort or Jack 5chiff7 

JDHNSOhi Ho, ] worired >-ith Jack a bit but 
not on that. 

JULJUS SCHVAHTZ: UhST year was iNstT 
HURRAY: 1935- 

5CHVAtni-. Hort weni until 1940 when he Went 
into the army, then Jack Schiff came in. And that 
was in the early forilea, SD you must have worked 
kith Leq Hargulies, 

JOHNSON: That'a right. Hori was there at the 
time, too. 

SCHWARTZ: Do you remember Horace Gold being 
there too? 

JOHNSON: 1 never knew him very welL^ 1 don'l 
know. 

SCHUAJfTZ: How about Oscar J, Friend; h? was 
there too. 

JOHHsoFi! I knew only a little bit about him, 
Thase were good days--lt was a good way to make a 
living if you didn't want too much man^y too 
fast, [laughter] 

MURRAY: Well, I think Chat will about wrap 
it up. Johnny, do you have any laat closing 
thoughts? 

JOHNSOR; Just to thank you guys for having 
me here, it's □ beautilul bunch of people and T'm 
enjoying it ihuroughly. I don't understand quite 
the veneration almost that some people have for 
these pulps. We thought they thould be whacked 
out and forgotten, [laughter) 

AL TONTK: fou whacked 'em out good. 
MURRAY: Yeahj you whacked 'em out good, l^eep 
whacking! [applause]